Officers were out in force in Morley last week to reassure the community they serve they are always watching and working to reduce all crime in their neighbourhood.
Taking place last Wednesday evening, Operation Dollar has been introduced by Morley South Ward Manager PC Chris Dibbs.
It was a two phase operation supported by staff from Protective Services, including traffic, special constabulary, Morley Neighbourhood Policing Team, drug detection dogs and Her Majesty’s Court Services.
Phase One involved officers, including Morley NPT’s PCSOs, engaging with the community, chatting to residents and giving them vital crime prevention advice, whereas Phase Two was the evening operation, which involved an increased police presence in the Morley South area.
PC Dibbs said; “It’s all about problem solving in the community and to let people know that just because there are more officers being seen on the street it doesn’t mean there has been an incident. We are there to make sure our streets are safer.”
He added that Morley is one of the safest areas in West Yorkshire, but they are still out in force detecting and deterring crime.
“There has been a slight increase in shed burglaries where bikes have been stolen. There has also been a slight increase in car break-in. We want to nip this trend in the bud.”
As well as being on the look-out for those known for committing these types of criminal offence, officers were also checking vehicles, making sure they had the correct insurance and car tax and any vehicles that have been linked to criminal activity, were stopped and checked.
PC Dibbs said: “We have highly trained officers using road traffic policing vehicles that are deployed all over West Yorkshire, who have been using the latest in car technology including Automatic Number Plate Recognition, which runs a plate through various systems to make sure everything is legal and above board.
“If criminals are known to use certain vehicles, there are ways for officers to detect and pursue those vehicles of interest.
“We want to deny criminals use of the road.
“It’s a lot to do with instinct. We usually get a feeling about someone we are talking to - if they are acting suspiciously.”
That instinct came into action while driving down Churwell Hill.
Spotting a transit van, PC Dibbs ran a check of its registration plate through his radio. Stopping the van to speak to the driver while the checks were made, PC Dibbs believed he could smell cannabis.
The passenger of the van admitted to having a small quantity of herbal cannabis.
The drugs were seized and destroyed and the man received a formal cannabis warning, which will stay on his record for life.
The narcotic detection dogs (sniffer dogs) were also out in the area, five-year-old German Shepherd, Jepson, a general purpose dog who, along with handler PC Chris Hibbert, with property searches, and eight-year-old Toby, a springer spaniel who is trained in detecting firearms, drugs and cash.
Non-payment of fines and outstanding warrants were also addressed in the operation.
A member of the Court Services was being liaised with throughout the evening to check anyone being stopped was not wanted in relation to any outstanding fines or warrants that have been issued for their arrests.
But it’s not all about making arrests and locking up criminals.
PC Dibbs said: “If we know that someone is out there who has or is committing crime, we will work hard to find them to bring them to justice, but also work with the probation service to get them out of a life of crime. There’s a reason why people turn to crime and we are there to help them get out of that way of life.
“The public demand we take action and we do but it’s also about trying to solving the initial problem that made that person turn to a crime.
“This operation has seen us out on estates where burglaries have taken place, trying to raise awareness with residents about crime safety - to close their gates, lock windows and doors and not leave anything of value out on show for the taking.”
In areas where vehicle crime has taken place, such as Peel Street, crime prevention posters have been displayed warning people that thieves are in the area and to make sure their vehicles are secure.
PC Dibbs said: “Morley is one of the safest areas in West Yorkshire. We make sure the criminals do not have an inch to move while in Morley.”